The federal government is imposing strict, mandatory quarantine rules on travellers returning to Canada and is promising heavy fines and jail time for those who ignore the warning.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said early Wednesday that, "effective at midnight tonight," all travellers returning to Canada — with the exception of what the federal government is calling "essential workers" — will have to enter a mandatory 14 days of isolation under the Quarantine Act whether or not they have symptoms of coronavirus.
"This new measure will provide the clarity for those re-entering the country about the essential need to self-isolate," she told the Senate, where she was discussing the Liberal government's emergency legislation to free up billions of dollars to help Canadians weather the COVID-19 crisis.
Starting Thursday morning, border officers will begin informing all returning Canadians and permanent residents of the new orders and telling them that they're forbidden to stop along the way.
Her department said maximum penalties for failing to comply with the order include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.
If someone jeopardizes another's life "while wilfully or recklessly contravening the act the penalties are even greater: $1 million or three years in prison, or both.
Spot checks will be conducted by the government of Canada to verify compliance, according to health officials.
The Quarantine Act in question, at the bottom of page 6, for punishments.